Students learn outdoors during Junior Envirothon

By BOB COUPLAND

Tribune Chronicle

CORTLAND — Sixth- to eighth-grade students spent a day learning about nature as part of the 15th annual Trumbull County Junior Envirothon, which was held for the first time at the Trumbull County Agriculture and Family Education Center.

Barbara Enoch, district educator with Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District, said Champion, LaBrae, Brookfield, Badger and TEACH took part in the one-day event that had students on 10 teams learning and answering questions on aquatics, forestry, wildlife, soil and a current environmental issue of hazardous waste.

She said the event is a smaller scale version of the North American Envirothon with students at a pond, in the woods, in a garden area and on a patio.

Students were also the first to use the new outdoor learning center completed last month.

Winner of the 2017 Trumbull County Junior Envirothon was Champion Middle School, with a score of 72. Two teams from LaBrae placed second and third and a second team from Champion placed fourth.

Martin Cisine, state wildlife officer with Ohio Division of Wildlife, said he told students what he does as an officer and what wildlife he deals with.

”They get to see antlers, skulls and pelts from animals in Ohio. Rural schools are more used to wildlife than urban schools. They think it is cool because it is different,” Cisine said.

Mandy Razzano of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, spoke on watersheds, headwater streams, riparian zones, and waterways and how dirt and pollution affect them negatively. She said programs are in place to prevent sediment from going into streams and erosion of the streambanks.

Lucas Aikins, 11, sixth- grader from LaBrae, said has learned information about mosquitoes and other wildlife and identifying specific types of leaves and trees.

Julia Bogos, seventh- grader at Champion, marking her first attending the event, said in science at school they have learned much of nature through hands-on activities.

Amy Reeher, district administrator/watershed coordinator Trumbull SWCD, said, ”Everyone had a great time. We were so fortunate with the weather this year. This program is a wonderful opportunity for students to meet natural resource professionals and think of career paths, particularly within STEM. It is a great day of outdoor learning and competition.”

bcoupland@tribtoday.com